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The December 20 'MHP' Syllabus

President Obama's Cuba move, a Sony movie becomes a foreign-relations story, and what police unions are saying about police killings -- 10am ET, msnbc.

Who knew that this late in the year, with the holidays approaching, the news cycle would be so full of so many big stories? This Saturday in #nerdland, guest host Dorian Warren (see Nerding Out on Shift by msnbc) gets into the biggest … starting with Cuba.

First, President Barack Obama takes action to “chart a new course in U.S. relations with Cuba.” This historic policy shift marks an end to one of the last vestiges of the Cold War era. Our guests will take a closer look at the history and the future of U.S.-Cuba relations and answer the questions: what does this really means for the people in Havana and for U.S. politics. Guests include:

  • Charles Sennott, founding editor & co-founder of GlobalPost
  • Adam Smith, political editor of Tampa Bay Times
  • Sujatha Fernandes, associate professor of Sociology at Queens College and CUNY; and author of "Cuba Represent!"
  • Lisa Cook, associate professor of Economics and International Relations at Michigan State University
  • John Gutierrez, assistant professor of Latin American and Latina/o Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice CUNY

In retaliation against the release of Sony Pictures’ “The Interview”—a comedy with a plot line that includes assassinating North Korea’s totalitarian leader Kim Jung-Un—there was a massive hack. The FBI released a statement stating the North Korean government was indeed responsible and that their “actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a U.S. business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves.” Now that the culprit is known, how will the U.S. respond? Read the President’s thoughts on Sony’s decision to pull the film here.

On Thursday, President Obama took a step towards creating better community policing by signing an executive order creating the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The task force is chaired by Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey and Laurie Robinson, a George Mason University criminology professor. We’ll take a look at this new executive order as well as the impact of police unions in Ohio and New York. Our panelists include:

  • Seema Iyer, criminal defense attorney
  • Wesley Lowery, political reporter at The Washington Post
  • Keith Sainten, former police academy instructor and retired NYPD detective
  • Jumaane Williams, New York City Councilman

Then, what really happened to Lennon Lacy? We’ll talk to Claudia Lacy, the mother of the teen found hanged in North Carolina. All that, plus, a look at Seema Iyer’s new piece on a Colorado company that makes edible pot products.

Be sure to read what we’ve linked above, and watch Melissa Harris-Perry Saturday at 10am ET on msnbc. Join the conversation—share your thoughts about these issues on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #nerdland